In the company of the Duke of Edinburgh

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The Duke of Edinburgh is set to retire from royal duties later this year.

Over decades of public life, Prince Philip has supported hundreds of charities and met thousands of people.

So what was he like to encounter in person?

Hugh Milroy is the chief executive of Veterans Aid. The Duke of Edinburgh, a former naval officer, has worked closely with the charity, which seeks to help ex-servicemen and women in crisis.

"He's been wonderful with veterans and we're proud to have a connection with him," Mr Milroy said.

"Over the years we've had visits and support from His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

"Everyone at Veterans Aid is deeply impressed by him as an individual - not only because of who he is but because he is a soldiers' soldier."

image copyrightVeterans Aid
image captionPrince Philip visited staff and residents at Veterans Aid's New Belvedere House hostel in June 2016

Mr Milroy first met Prince Philip in 2010, when the duke attended a carol concert for the charity.

"As a veteran myself, I've got nothing but praise for him," Mr Milroy said.

"He was with us three times last year and was just perfect with the guys. He really understands the service and ex-servicemen's community."

'Freezing night'

However, Prince Philip could also be blunt when the situation demanded it.

"He does not mince his words. He does not suffer fools gladly," Bill Munnoch told the BBC.

Mr Munnoch served in the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. As a 21-year-old on guard at Balmoral Castle during the Royal Family's annual break, he told the BBC he was "gobsmacked" to see the Duke of Edinburgh walk through the guardroom door as he took a tea break.

"It was a freezing night," Mr Munnoch recalls. "He questioned us to ask if we were warm enough and if we had something warm to eat. Our guard commander replied that the suppers had not been sent down from the cookhouse.

"His Royal Highness picked up the duty telephone and told whoever he was speaking to, to get their lazy arses down to the guard room ASAP with warm food and more warm drinks as the Royal Guard were freezing their butts off.

"He then bid us good night and, hands behind his back, marched out of the guardroom."

A few minutes went by before a "very disgruntled" chef staggered in clutching a tray of warm food.

"We tucked into the food and had a great laugh. About an hour later we were surprised when Prince Philip appeared again."

After asking if they had been fed, Prince Philip let it be known what he thought of the kitchen staff.

"Lazy shower, or words to that effect," Mr Munnoch remembers. "I can't use them, they were stronger than that.

"We thought it was brilliant."

Jovial and genuine

Callum Dewar, 20, from Glasgow also recalls the day he met the duke at the Queen's garden party at Holyroodhouse in June 2015.

"I was there from the Boys Brigade, with my mum and was asked if Id like to meet him.

"Obviously I said yes but I was quite nervous.

"I didn't need to be. He was so jovial and genuine and he knew so much about the organisation. He even quizzed me on my knowledge!

"We talked about my work and he also asked me lots about my personal life. He was engaged and interested and the conversation was full of laughter.

"Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures but I remember the encounter well as he was such a pleasant man."

By the UGC and Social News team

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